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Posts Tagged ‘washington’

Last Saturday evening, my family and I were on our way to Green Lake and decided to grab a bite at Uneeda Burger. For years, I’ve always seen this place brought up in “best burger” discussions, and finally decided to check it out for myself. Located on Fremont Ave N, Uneeda Burger is a casual restaurant with a nice sized patio and open walls, that make it a perfect spot for a summertime meal. It was a packed house when we arrived and as we  stood in line, the warm and welcoming vibes were palpable. We were fortunate to have a party finish their meals as we were scanning for a table and gladly took theirs. It is a self-seating establishment so during rush hours, expect a short wait for a table, or to share one with a friendly stranger.

 

off fremont ave n. & 43rd

off fremont ave n. & 43rd

place your orders

place your orders

 

The Food:

 

 

#6: monsieur $9 & onion rings $3.25

#6: monsieur $9 & onion rings $3.25

Note: All their burgers are listed as 1/3+ lb. beef patties made with all-natural painted hills beef. I decided to order the Monsieur, which included black forest ham, dijon-mayo, gruyere and truffled shoestring potatoes. To my surprise, this burger was served between two slices of potato bread. It almost looked like a patty melt upon first glance with a perfectly buttered & golden-brown crust atop each piece. The burger patty was well seasoned, juicy, and cooked to a perfect medium. The ham added an additional savory element to each bite. I also really enjoyed their dijon-mayo which provided a subtle enough kick to let you know it’s there, but did not overpower. Unfortunately, the shoestring potatoes didn’t add anything for me – they were lost in the burger and I could have done without them. Also, the gruyere wasn’t as melted as I would have preferred – maybe if it would have gone onto the burger sooner? I did love their onion rings though, which were thick-cut, generously battered and fried to perfection. The first time Cherry saw them, she asked, “You got donuts?!” The onions also did a great job holding fast after each bite. They didn’t all come out  with the first like some lesser quality onion rings.

 

My Conclusion:

 We had an excellent meal. The food was delicious and despite being a busy Saturday evening, they were able to push the food out quickly. The staff were all extremely friendly and did an awesome job making sure tables were cleaned and dirty dish bins were clear (you bus your own table). Uneeda Burger is a great family restaurant as well, with plenty of strollers and kids throughout. My only regret is not having a big enough appetite to sample more food but we will definitely be back! I’ll update this post as I add more of their offerings into my belly.

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After putting it off for long enough Cherry and I finally made it to Asadero Sinaloa last week. Sinaloa is a modestly sized restaurant tucked away in the back of a random strip mall in Kent, Wa. Heeding to the suggestions of many, we arrived early – fifteen minutes early to be exact. Rightly so however, because as we were eagerly awaiting their opening (which is at 11am), other like-minded patrons started arriving, one-by-one. We entered and were greeted immediately greet then seated with our menus. Shortly after, our drinks came.

asadero sinaloa 5.jpg

store front

 

asadero sinaloa 1.jpg

the essentials

 

The Food:

 

 

asadero sinaloa 3.jpg

molletes $3.75

This was our first time having molletes and I’m kinda mad it took me over 30-years to finally try it! Molletes is essentially a piece of bread topped with frijoles (beans) and cheese. They use sourdough here and it worked very well. The crust was crispy and the bread underneath was pillowy-soft. The beans were cooked and seasoned nicely and the generous helping of cheese was the icing on the cake. They did include a side of pico de gallo which in my opinion wasn’t necessary as the molletes were delicious on its own. I will say though, that their pico de gallo was delicious! It has a much brighter flavor than what I’ve had in the past and would have liked to take a jar of it home.

 

 

asadero sinaloa 2.jpg

mixtas $5

When I tried looking up “mixtas” online, a majority of the results were “Guatemalan hotdog” which this wasn’t, but of more a steak-filled quesadilla. One thing that really stood out was the tortilla with this dish, which reminded me of a Chinese scallion pancake. It was soft yet flaky at the same time. It also had great flavor! The steak and cheese filling were what you’d expect: melted cheese + savory meat = winning. That being said, I would have liked a little more meat. Rylie thoroughly enjoyed it though, as you can see she couldn’t wait to get her little paws on it!

 

 

asadero sinaloa 4.jpg

carne asada $19.99

 

The carne asada dish was plated beautifully – in a rustic, eat-with-your-hands kind of way.  Right away my eyes were drawn to the grill marks on most everything, which added appeal. Served alongside was grilled nopales (cactus), sausage (from Uli’s) a side of frijoles and another type of salsa not offered in the salsa bar. This was my first time trying nopales and‘ll be honest in saying I wasn’t a fan of it. To be fair, I did try two bites! It has a slimy layer on the outside similar to that of okra, texture like soft bell pepper and flavor like super tart cucumber. The sausage was perfectly grilled which a nice pop when you cut into the casing and excellent flavors within each bite. For the carne asada, I was underwhelmed. It was a very generous serving which was a plus, but it lacked seasoning and was too chewy. After attempting to cut the meat into smaller strips, I scrapped the knife midway through. It was more of a struggle to use the steak knife than it was to just rip through it with my teeth like a walker ripping into Herschel’s leg. That’s a Walking Dead reference to those sitting there scratching their head.

 

My Conclusion:

Overall, it was a good meal but we weren’t blown away. There were dishes that really stood out and others that missed the mark. We will come back again (soon) to try some of the other items off their menu.  One thing I will mention is that the unsung heroes of our meal were the fresh salsas and mixin’s provided at the salsa bar. Everything was super fresh and wonderfully prepared. I am seriously contemplating bringing a mason jar next time to sneakily pack and take home with me.

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Last week, Cherry and I had lunch at Wally’s Chowder House following a recommendation about their fish n’ chips. We visited their Des Moines location off Marine View Dr which has a nice view of the Puget Sound. The parking lot was packed when we arrived and when we entered, the restaurant looked to be full. To our surprise, there were a few tables left and we were seated immediately. There’s a warm and welcoming feel to the restaurant with a coastal themed interior.

wallys 1

 

The Food:

 

wallys 2

garlic cheese bread (1/2 order) $3.59 & calamari fries $5.99

The cheese bread was mediocre. Despite being a generously sized order, it was very greasy due to the oils from the cheddar soaking into the bread. The calamari fries were good though. The breading was flavorful and crunchy while the calamari underneath was tender.

 

 

wallys 3

2 piece cod n’ chips  $17.15

For our entrees, Cherry and I shared the 2-piece cod n’ chips – which was also more than enough for 2-adults. The large fillets were coated with their “special” breading and were nicely fried. The cod was deliciously tender and fall-apart-flaky. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of their breading. I prefer my fried fish dipped in beer-batter, which usually provides a nice crunchy bite. Wally’s serves a cornmeal breading that had very little crunch. Their breading was also like a separate entity – easily coming apart off the fish. There was no cohesiveness. Cherry, on the other hand prefers the cornmeal breading and really liked their take. Their fries, however, were delicious – fried and season perfectly!

 

My Conclusion:

Wally’s is a very nice establishment serving up tasty seafood. The servers were all extremely nice and despite being a full house, the food came out quickly.With a large menu that Cherry and I left rather untapped, we will be back to sample some of their other items especially their clam chowder. With fish n’ chips, a lot comes down to personal preference: batter vs breading. You can’t go wrong with either.

 

 

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Xiao long bao/XLB (soup dumplings) have been around forever, but for some reason, their recent popularity has skyrocketed like the number of twitter followers Caitlyn Jenner racked after her first tweet.  The one thing that makes soup dumplings stand apart is the pork soup inside each dumpling from the rendered fat in the meat filling. If you ask your average/mainstream foodie where to get decent XLB in the Seattle area, the go-to response will be, Din Tai Fung – an international restaurant chain originating from Taiwan. I tend to shy away from mainstream spots and espeically places that have a ‘bougie reputation. To no fault of their own, DTF has unfortunately garnered a reputation of being both. Enter Dough Zone, a local restaurant specializing in all things dough and all things dumplings. With two locations in Bellevue, WA, we went to the original location on NE 8th St.  It’s a moderately sized restaurant with booths and tables on the dining floor and a fairly clean ambiance.  Arriving on a Sunday around 11am, I was anticipating a wait, but we were seated within 5-minutes. After looking over the menu, our server came by a few minutes later and took our order.

neccessities

neccessities

The Food:

chinese donut $1.75 each

chinese donut/you tiao $1.75 each

The Chinese donut or you tiao, is a staple in Tawainese breakfast/brunch. It’s commonly eaten between shao bing, a Chinese sesame flat bread. Overall, it was ok. The initial bite was warm and crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.  Unfortunately, as it cooled the outside became harder and tough. We ordered the donut mainly as a toddler-friendly dish for Rylie, but Cherry and I ended up eating most of it.

 pig ears $3.75

pig ears $3.75

rylie approves

rylie approves

Braised pig ears are another very common side dish in Chinese meals and trust me when I’ve said I’ve had my fare share. The pig ears at Dough Zone were topped with a sweeter sauce than what I’m custom to (at home they drizzle it with sesame oil) and I would have liked them braised longer to bring out more of the anise/soy flavors.  They did get Rylie’s stamp of approval though, as she ate a majority of the plate herself!

spicy beef pancake roll $4.75

spicy beef pancake roll $4.75

I was pretty happy to see beef pancake rolls on the menu; even more so to see it offered spicy! The first time I’ve had a beef roll was in Vancouver at Peaceful Restaurant, which set the bar high. It looked nice when served, but my overall impression of the roll was mediocre. The green onion pancake was on the doughier side and the “spicy” element was a bit of chili oil inside. Like the pig ears,  I would have like to taste more flavors from the braising liquid (soy/anise.) The additional green onion added inside did add a bright pop.

 

 pork dumplings $4.25

pork dumplings $4.25

 These handmade dumplings were the highlight of my meal. The first thing I noticed was how good the dumpling wrapper was. Like Goldilocks eating baby bear’s porridge, it was just right. The pork had a rich flavor with the chives providing a pleasant accent. I can’t say these are the best dumplings I’ve personally had, but they’re definitely good enough for me to come back.

xiao long bao $9.5

xiao long bao $9.5

The featured item of our meal were the xiao long bao, or as they name it here, Juicy pork buns. Despite popular belief, I don’t think there’s a “right” way to eat a XLB, so I tried a variety of methods. The focal point of any XLB is always the soup, and the pork soup here carried a sweet and creamy flavor. Alone, the XLB were just ok. I felt the sweetness of the juice overpowered the meat filling. When combined with the vinegar/soy/ginger sauce, the tastiness took a a big jump up. I really enjoyed the bright flavors of the ginger when combined with the sour and salty flavors of the vinegar and soy. As a whole, all of the flavors came together quite nicely when eaten together.

My Conclusion: I had a very enjoyable meal at Dough Zone. The service was prompt and the servers were all very polite. Although there were a few dishes that could be improved upon, the ones that were delicious exceeded my expectations. Their menu is also quite expansive, ranging from a huge variety of different dumplings, to a ton of different noodle, congee and soup dishes. The prices are also very reasonable .  

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Last week, Cherry and I celebrated our 5-year anniversary eating like barbarians – at Rainin’ Ribs BBQ. Now don’t scoff at that fact that we didn’t choose a more “upscale” spot to celebrate. A restaurant’s interior décor, the fanciness of the dinner/flatware, or the price of an entrée does not dictate our enjoyment or experience – we ate food we love and we ate it together! Plus, who can’t get down with a wonderfully meaty rack… of ribs? Now Rainin’ Ribs is more a smokehouse/kitchen than a restaurant. We were greeted at a small ordering counter and when we said we’d be dining in, we were given a couple menus and directed to head into the covered dining area to sit anywhere we’d like.  Our server came up a few minutes later, took our order and gave us the go-ahead to anything at the beverage station.

 

 main entrance

main entrance off bothell way

 

The Food:

 

 

 clockwise from the left: 3 sides, 1/2 rack of baby back ribs, 1/2 lb of brisket

clockwise from the left: 3 sides, 1/2 rack of baby back ribs, 1/2 lb of brisket

 

 hushpuppy

hushpuppy

We both shared the 1/2 rack of ribs and two sides ($23) as well as the  a la carte 1/2 lb. of brisket ($10). We got our third side for free as a promotion of checkin’ in via Yelp. For our sides, we went with the hush puppies, loaded potato salad and the mac ‘n cheese. The potato salad was hearty and not overly creamy. The green onions provided a nice bright note to each bite. The mac ‘n cheese was pretty good, but not the best I’ve had.  The hushpuppies on the other hand were amazing. They had a great outer crust and a perfectly sweet and moist inside. One thing that really stood out was the bits of jalapeno throughout each hushpuppy that provide subtle heat to each bite. The honey butter they serve with was also delicious. The brisket had a nice smoke ring along the outer edges and had a good flavor from smoke and rub. We ordered the baby-back ribs dry and they were excellent. The meat was fall off the bone tender and the same great flavors of the rub and smoke that the brisket had.  Rainin’ Ribs offers three house-made sauces to pair with your food; Sweet G, House, and Voodoo.  I liked the voodoo (spicy) sauce the best. It wasn’t too spicy but just had just enough heat to satisfy.

 

 

My Conclusion:

 

With a menu also offering a variety of sandwiches and other favorites like fried catfish and chicken wings, and the fact that they have a food truck and cater, Rainin Ribs is a solid spot.  The staff is friendly and the BBQ is great. We shared our delight with our server and she suggested the tri-tip next time. I’m sure we’ll be taking her suggestion in the near future.

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